Trends in Worker Illness and Injury
Industry efforts have resulted in dramatic reductions in work related illnesses and injuries. Data collected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows that Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicate that the actual incidence of injuries and illnesses reported in the Meat Industry for 2007 (the most recent year for which data is available) are the lowest since BLS began recording this data in the early 1970s.
Over the last 17 years, injury/illness rates in Meat Processing operations have improved by more than 70 percent. Not all injuries and illnesses are alike. BLS provides separate data to categorize the seriousness of injuries and illnesses it records. These are the Total Incidents (Recordable) rate, and the Lost Workday Case rate. Recordables are all incidents “recorded” on the OSHA log; those requiring medical attention beyond normal first aid. Lost Workdays are a subset of Recordables, and occur under two circumstances – an injury serious enough to require at least one day away from work, or an injury requiring restricted job activity. Restricted activity can include shortened hours, a temporary job change, restriction from certain job duties or a combination of all three.
In the meat products industry – which encompasses the meat packing, meat processing and poultry processing sectors – BLS’ 2007 data reports 8.4 injuries per 100 full-time workers per year. This is a reduction of nearly 8% from 2006 results. The more serious injuries, those requiring lost work days (as defined above), exhibited a significant decrease from the 2006 rate of 6.2 to a rate 5.5 in 2007; a reduction of over 11 percent. Both the total incidents rate and the more severe lost workday case rate currently stand at all time lows for the industry.
To see charts detailing these trends or for more information about worker safety programs, visit www.workersafety.org